Embattled Guess cofounder Paul Marciano is suing a celebrity attorney representing multiple women who accuse him of sexual misconduct.
Marciano, 70, whose worth a reported $388million, has accused Lisa Bloom, the daughter of famed attorney Gloria Allred, of trying to extort him and threatening to publicize a phony rape claim against him unless he agreed to pay a settlement.
The former CEO of the multibillion-dollar clothing empire claims he has a signed affidavit from one of Bloom’s clients, stating that she was never raped by him.
Marciano was ousted from his position as CEO of the multibillion-dollar clothing empire in 2018, after the company agreed to pay $500,000 to five models who accused the fashion mogul of misconduct during Guess shoots.
Four of those accusers were represented by Bloom, 60, a self-described ‘women’s advocate’ lawyer who previously served on legal teams tasked with addressing sexual misconduct claims against Bill Cosby and Bill O’Reilly.
Last month, another five unidentified women came forward accusing Marciano of sexual harassment and assault, all represented by Bloom – three of whom have filed lawsuits, and another filing a police report.
The fifth women, an aspiring model who worked for Guess, reported to the company’s human resources department last March that she had been sexually harassed by Marciano.
She eventually approached Bloom for representation, and private negotiations between Marciano’s attorney and Bloom’s legal team ensued.
Paul Marciano, 70, was ousted from his position as CEO of multibillion-dollar clothing empire Guess in 2018, after the company agreed to pay $500,000 to five models who said the fashion mogul harassed them during Guess shoots. He is facing criminal charges for those allegations
However, as discussions ground on, according to Marciano’s attorneys, Bloom and other attorneys escalated the severity of the woman’s claims in an attempt to extract money from the mogul and his company.
The lawsuit alleges Bloom’s law firm threatened to file criminal charges unless Marciano paid $1.9million to the client, referred to as ‘S.S’ in the filing – an amount that was decreased to $235,000 after his attorneys rejected the proposal.
Attached to the ‘final’ demand that Marciano and Guess pay $235,000 to settle the case out of court was a 27-page draft of a complaint Bloom said would be filed in court if attorneys did not play ball, Marciano’s lawyers said.
‘In doing so, the Bloom defendants forced the plaintiff to play an extortive game of Russian roulette,’ the suit filed Monday in LA County Superior Court, states.
The suit contends that Bloom – who previously served a legal adviser to convicted sex pest Harvey Weinstein – non-consensually and repeatedly inserted the word ‘rape’ into that claim, against the wishes of the unnamed client, who they say signed an affidavit attesting that fact.
‘The client, (hereinafter referred to as “S.S.”) specifically told the Bloom defendants that plaintiff never raped her,’ the suit reads, ‘but the Bloom defendants paid her no mind. Instead, they told S.S. they would not threaten plaintiff with a rape accusation but did so anyway,’ the suit states.
High-profile attorney Lisa Bloom, who represents four of five of the women accusing Marciano of sexual misconduct, was sued Monday by the fashion mogul for extortion, with Marciano claiming she threatened to publicize a phony rape claim against him unless he paid $235,000
Marciano’s lawyers went on to assert that they even have a sworn declaration to stand up those assertions from Bloom’s client, who they say was so alarmed by Bloom’s legal tactics that she came forward to his attorneys as a ‘whistleblower.’
‘This is a case of extortion,’ the attorneys wrote in the filing of their allegations against the LA-based lawyer and her team, which they said fit ‘a pattern of tortious, deceptive, and otherwise improper behavior by the defendants, attorney Lisa Bloom and her namesake law firm The Bloom Firm.’
‘That has been exposed by a former client who had the courage to be a whistleblower to their outrageous conduct The Bloom Defendants have hidden behind their status as lawyers.
‘But a bar card is not a license to commit extortion,’ the suit asserts.
The woman, who lawyers said was identified in the complaint by her initials, ‘does not want women like herself to be manipulated by Lisa Bloom,’ Gary Kaufman, one of Marciano’s attorneys, said of the suit, which demands a jury trial.
The behavior from Bloom, Marciano’s lawyers said, aligns with previous strategies employed by the high-powered attorney that saw her air damaging allegations in a lawsuit or news conference with the sole intention of garnering a settlement.
‘Whether the accusation is true or not does not matter,’ they wrote. ‘What matters is making the target pay up.’
In a statement addressing the suit Monday, Marciano’s crisis lawyer said that their suit against the Bloom firm ‘meticulously details a series of brazen actions orchestrated by Bloom to concoct allegations and extort money from Paul Marciano, including attempts to conceal the shakedown scheme.’
In court papers, Marciano, who retained a board seat after his ousting, said the Bloom Law Firm made the threats knowing the allegations were false, and even went as far as to disregard the model’s assertions that no such event took place
‘The plot ultimately unraveled when a whistleblower former client of Bloom revealed that she had specifically disavowed a claim of rape that Bloom had asserted against Marciano and told Bloom to remove that allegation from a draft lawsuit Bloom used to threaten Mr. Marciano.
‘The Complaint further alleges that Bloom never removed it.’
On Tuesday, in a statement sent to DailyMail.com Bloom responded to Marciano’s suit, saying it was the mark of a ‘desperate’ man, noting that the filing had come days before a deposition addressing one of her anonymous clients’ misconduct claims, where, for the first time, the mogul will speak on the allegations while under oath.
In the bulletin, Bloom called Marciano’s claims of being extorted ‘laughable’ and ‘baseless,’ predicting that the complaint would be quickly tossed.
‘Over twenty women have accused Paul Marciano of sexual harassment and sexual assault (most of whom I did not represent), according to Guess’ own records,’ Bloom wrote.
‘Guess has stood by him for decades despite the pleas of so many women for justice and a recent shareholder revolt. His strong-arm tactics do not work on me.
‘I am finally taking Paul Marciano’s deposition next week. He is getting desperate. He is losing the case and he knows it. (As for this former client, we have many confidential emails from her describing her appalling story of what Paul Marciano did to her, which is why she hired us, to get justice against him on her sexual misconduct claims. We get client approval on everything we send out.)’
Bloom, 60, then asserted: ‘I will not be distracted. This laughable, baseless case will be thrown out early.’
Addressing Marciano directly, the she added: ‘I look forward to your appearance in my office next week where you will, for the first time, have to answer questions under oath about my client’s sexual assault claims against you. I am ready. Are you?’
Bloom, pictured with her famous mother Gloria Allred in 2014, non-consensually and repeatedly inserted the word ‘rape’ into her client’s claim against her wishes, the suit states
Last week, shareholders at the company – which has seen profits plummet in recent years, falling from a market value peak of roughly $5.4billion in 2007 to $1.35billion today – attempted to vote majority stakeholders Marciano and brother and Maurice, who retired from Guess in 2012, off the board due to the claims against Marciano.
Legion Partners Asset Management, a hedge fund that owns a 2.5 percent stake in Guess, lead the effort to persuade investors to not re-elect the Marcianos to the board last week, arguing the company needed to distance themselves from the brother in the wake of the allegations against Paul.
However, the brothers narrowly eked out a win in an ensuing vote, solidifying their positions as the company’s primary shareholders – collectively owning roughly 44 percent of the jean giant.
‘Paul Marciano may have eked out a win at today’s annual meeting, but he cannot hide from the persistent reputational and valuation risks we believe his continued presence poses to Guess,’ Legion said in a statement following the vote, which reportedly saw 83 percent of noninsider shareholders back the decision to boot Paul.
‘There is a credible risk to the Guess brand posed by Paul Marciano’s continued involvement with the company, and the board has been unable to separate him from the company despite a growing chorus of public allegations of sexual misconduct,’ advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services Inc., said in a report of the vote, which came nearly four years after board members launched an investigation into the claims against Marciano in 2018.
‘Shareholders may have trouble separating the influence of the brothers and co-founders on the board’s actions and find that the prudent course of action is to withhold support for both Marcianos,’ officials from the firm said last week, prior to the vote.
The firm labeled the board’s 2018 investigation into allegations of unwanted advances, kisses, and groping by Marciano was ‘insufficient,’ and not re-electing the Marcianos would ‘begin a clean break in this long and sordid thread in the company’s history.’
Over the past decade, in a combination of lawsuits, social media posts, and news articles, several women have accused Marciano of inappropriate behavior, prompting the board’s 2018 investigation.
Over the past decade, in a combination of lawsuits, social media posts, and news articles, several women have accused Marciano of inappropriate behavior, prompting an investigation by the company’s board that saw the mogul resign. He, however, retained his seat on the company’s board and was rehired less than a year as it chief creative officer
The investigation found that ‘on certain occasions,’ Marciano had ‘exercised poor judgment in his communications with models and photographers’ and had put himself in ‘situations in which plausible allegations of improper conduct could, and did, arise.’
Bloom has represented multiple Marciano accusers, including the client referred to in Marciano’s complaint. The client was an aspiring model who last March reported to Guess’ human resources department that she had been sexually harassed, the document notes.
Marciano currently resides in LA with his wife of six years, former model Mareva Georges Marciano, and two of his children, 16-year-old Ryan Marciano and Gia Marciano, 10.
He also has two adult aged children, Nicolai, 27, who works at Guess as the company’s Director of Brand Partnerships and Specialty Marketing, and Ella Marciano
A deposition between Marciano’s attorneys as well as those from the Bloom Firm is slated for next week.